Yelp Reports Some Grim Figures On Restaurant Closures

TGIF, everybody! The end of the week is finally here, so let's all head into the weekend with a bit of good news about—wait, nevermind.

Yelp released its Q2 2020 Yelp Economic Average report on Wednesday, which showed that 60% of restaurants listed within Yelp's platform that had hoped to be closed only temporarily in the wake of coronavirus are now closed for good. The industry appears to be reaching a tipping point: the number of temporary closures is steadily decreasing, and the number of permanent closures is shooting up like a bottle rocket.

Yelp's last quarterly report, released in April, showed that over 175,000 total businesses (not just restaurants) had shut down in some capacity; less than 25% of those businesses have since reopened. Since last month, there has been a 23% increase in permanent restaurant closures; for bars and clubs, that number is 44%.

Yelp's data indicate a correlation between the hospitality business and coronavirus hotspots: the ten states with the largest increase in COVID-19 infections in June had all showed significant increases in consumer interest in restaurants, bars, and nightlife in May. As coronavirus cases surged in states like Florida and Texas, consumer interest began to fall once again, bringing thousands of permanent business closures along with it.

While these numbers are extremely bad for the hospitality industry, the good news is that Yelp's data also indicate a significant uptick in interest for small businesses in other sectors: interest in plumbing has risen by 21%, bike rentals by 57%, and nurseries/gardening by 43%. The report is worth a read, though we warn you: it might be hard to focus on the good news when you notice that the category "guns and ammo" is also nestled within the "Sustaining Increased Interest" section of the report, with a 166% increase. Have a great weekend!